The state of the human mind, on the average, prefers relaxation, free of challenges and if possible, not to get engaged in activities that would stretch it beyond what it can offer.
At times, we find it quite tough to get on the go, probably because, we might have a challenge in focusing our mind on certain issues or finding it difficult to get a task accomplished. This alone can cause our minds to become overcrowded and warrant procrastination.
But, why procrastination, when a tendency exists that it often leads to over-anxiety and unnecessary stress most, especially, if a task is yet to get completed? Your tendency to procrastinate will always be on the downside and it might take its toll on your effort if your work has to do with handling deadlines.
Ever wonder how people who get the job done go about it? Do they not procrastinate as others do? They are definitely humans like the rest of us and there are times when they appear to escape work by dragging their feet, nevertheless, they have found ways to always gather momentum at any of these points and set the ball in motion.
We have, below, some lessons from top CEOs and entrepreneurs on how to beat procrastination:
Have a to-do list
As simple as it appears, this method has proven to work for top executives. After accomplishing a day’s task, they round it up by penning down their “to-do list” before heading home.
By the following day, they wake up to see the task for the day lined up, their mind is fixed and they get prepared ahead, to battle out the days’ challenge.
Doing this will help you set a reasonable level of expectation and keep you from getting overwhelmed by a pile of work that would probably not get accomplished.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, shared the unique way he goes about his “to do list” in fending off procrastination. He keeps a “won’t do list”. Each morning, he writes a checklist of “to do” and “won’t do” lists. As he gets done with his “to-do” list, he moves them to the “wont-do” to “to-do” list.
The two minutes rule
In your procrastination, have you thought of how to make it easier for you to get tasks started? Probably, you may not have. Making it easy to start tasks is one of the ways to overcome procrastination. James Clear simplified this easy method, by creating a “two-minute rule”
The rule has two parts. The first states that, if a task can get accomplished under two minutes, rather than postpone it, get it done now. Simple replies to emails, such as “acknowledged”, “will do”, are little things that can get done right away.
From here, you can start setting up new habits in two minutes at a time. The overall goals are to learn how to perform a small task that is a part of a large task. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a little step.
Completing tasks in batches
In the process of wanting to beat procrastination, you do not have to keep on breaking your work into fragments; rather do your work in batches.
Putting your work in batches and having a proper schedule would make you complete your work in bundles. Breaking your work would only give you the headache of continually starting and stopping, which can break the flow of work and you would probably not get the job done anytime soon.
Stop trying to bite off more than you can chew and stop breaking your work up into tiny chunks. Instead, try putting tasks into batches and schedule your day around completing each bundle of work.
It takes time to get into a rhythm to work on a task. Instead of constantly starting and stopping that process, it is better to keep your rhythm going by bundling similar tasks together.
This is how Tim Ferriss, author of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ applies this principle: In the morning, he gets work started by writing and simultaneously avoiding to take a sneak peek at the internet, then, in the afternoon, he responds to batches of calls and emails.
According to him, putting work in batches, rather than breaking them, makes him avoid interruptions and helps him to prevent procrastination.